Birthstones, 1913 and 2013

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, June 6, 1913:  Nothing doing, therefore not worth writing about.


Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma again didn’t write much, I’m going to pick up where I left off yesterday. Yesterday I wrote about how an advice columnist named “Aunt Harriet”  told young men in the April, 1913 issue of Farm Journal about what they should expect to pay for a wedding and engagement ring.

Aunt Harriet bemoaned the high cost of diamond engagement rings and wrote that:

Of late years it has become quite customary to use the birthstone of the young lady for the engagement ring, and these can be had in a variety of settings and at various prices.

She continued:

The stones for the twelve months are as follows: January, garnet; February, amethyst; March, bloodstone; April, diamond; May, emerald; June moonstone; July, ruby; August, sardonyx; September, sapphire; October, opal; November, topaz; December, turquoise.

I had a vague memory that modern lists of birthstones include zircon for one of the months, so checked the American Gem Society website and found that the stones have changed for a few of the months since 1913.

cameo.ringThe 1913 August birthstone was sardonyx. It’s a banded mineral that was often carved into cameos.

21 thoughts on “Birthstones, 1913 and 2013

  1. Do you remember if your grandma wore an engagement ring or a simple wedding band? Neither my mother or my maternal grandmother (my paternal grandmother passed away when I was a baby) had engagement rings. My mother married in the 1951 and my grandmother in the 1932.

    1. I have a vague recollection that she had both a wedding and an engagement ring. My memory is that she typically wore just the wedding ring, but that on special occasions she might have worn both.

    1. Is it topaz? I had no idea what the answer was when I saw your question, but it motivated me to do a little research using google–and I think that I figured out the answer. 🙂

    1. I suppose that styles change–and that some gems increase or decrease in popularity. I wonder if they also changed some of the birthstones because they because more (or less) rare over the last hundred years.

    1. I’m not August, but I have a two old sardonyx cameo rings that I sometimes wear. I think that they are a lot of fun–though I seldom see anyone else wearing a cameo these days.

  2. Bleh, bloodstone? Sounds creepy. I’m very happy with aquamarine, thank you. My favoritest color is blue.
    It’s odd, I always think December’s stone is pearl, but I really don’t know why.

    1. I like bloodstone in spite of it’s name. I have no idea why it’s not on the modern list, but I’m thinking that its name might be part of the reason. 🙂

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